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The Ohio Water Microbiology Laboratory (OWML) is a Biosafety Level II laboratory located within the Columbus, Ohio office of the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Water Science Center.

The OWML consists of a large main laboratory area and two smaller limited-use areas. The main area is used for sample login, general media and reagent preparation, membrane filtration, incubation, culture maintenance, and nucleic acid extraction. The limited-use areas are rooms off of the main area and are used to physically separate steps of molecular-based microbiological methods.

A laboratory information management system (LIMS) is being used by the OWML to store sample login information, sample results, and associated quality control results. The LIMS is used to store QA/QC records: maintenance and calibration of laboratory equipment, maintenance of microbiological stock cultures and controls, and laboratory method QA/QC results. The LIMS has been customized to produce reports of results that can be easily uploaded into the USGS National Water Information System (NWIS).

Ohio WSC Microbiology Laboaratory
Ohio Water Microbiology Laboratory, Columbus, OH



The OWML provides microbiological data of public-health significance from surface waters, ground waters, and sediments for a variety of study objectives. The goals of the OWML are to:

  • provide quality microbiological analytical services to USGS projects for the analysis of environmental samples for bacterial indicators, coliphage, and enteric viruses.
  • work with other government agencies, academic institutions, and public utilities to develop and (or) test methods for detection or enumeration of microorganisms of public-health significance in the environment.
  • provide assistance to other USGS employees for project planning and training related to microorganisms of public-health significance.
  • continually develop projects and program that enhance our understanding of the processes that affect microorganisms in the environment.